It was a fun time last weekend here at La Cucina Castano. Some old hockey friends made their first appearance here. The Toll's (Rick, Lori and Braden) and the Amsley's (Todd, Beth and Conner) came over for some food, drink and fun. As always, tried to keep the menu simple but tasty in order to kick back and enjoy some time with our guests.
The main course was Chicken Scarpiello, a tasty Italian-American dish made with chicken, sausage and peppers. I say Italian-American because there is no history of the dish in Italy. It was developed by Italian immigrants here in America. Chicken Scarpiello translates as 'chicken shoemaker style'. There are several theories about the etymology of this name. It could be because the meager ingredients are all that a poor shoemaker could afford. Some think that the name is a take on simple ingredients being 'cobbled' together. No matter how it got it's name it an easy and delicious. Here a link to a good recipe for this dish -
I varied it a little for a few reasons. It's better to cook this chicken on the bone for this dish but I had some boneless chicken breasts that had been marinating for quite a few days and I needed to cook them so they went in the oven and cooked by themselves (in the marinade). I also had some boneless thighs. These were also cooked separately (dredged in flour and sauteed on the stove top). The sauce I made pretty traditionally though I added roasted peppers along with the hot peppers. It still had some kick, though.
The side was simple pasta - linguine - with lot's of garlic and olive oil, a little clam juice and a little of the salted cooking water. Lot's of basil, as always. The drink of choice for your's truly were Bombay Sapphire East martinis with piri piri stuffed olives, which Rick and I enjoyed thoroughly, as attested by the fact that I had no gin left Sunday morning! It was great seeing some old friends and very much looking forward to the their next visit here to La Cucina.
This coming weekend many of the Cucina Castano regulars will be here and the main course will once again be eggplant parm. Apparently I really nailed it last time so this will be a meal by request, which I don't do all that often, but I love to cook for my friends so if they all want eggplant parm this weekend that's what I'm cooking! Since this meal will be Friday night, and I have to work on Friday, the eggplant, since it's so time consuming to prepare properly, was put together last night. I spent a good two hours frying eggplant to make the biggest dish of eggplant parm I've ever made. All I've got to do tomorrow is pop it in the oven. Of course there will be pasta, maybe something "puttanesca-ish". Lot's bread, beer and wine ... and of course a martini for the chef. I'm sure there will also be some serious singing and kitchen dancing too.
Until next time, enjoy the weekend. Treat yourself to a great meal and a well made cocktail. You know you deserve it!